Category Archives: sbss

SBSS Week 2: 10 Reasons to Talk to Your Customers Early

We had another great week of the Success Breeds Success Series. This week covered Markets and Market Research — with a focus on sizing your market and understanding what customers want.

Randy Scott, CEO of NovaMin, was the guest speaker and did a fantastic job of summarizing his efforts to select and size NovaMin’s market. A defining characteristic of his market research was a focus on talking to customers instead of just relying on library/internet research (he did that too). As a result, his numbers and decisions were grounded in reality, not assumptions.

Entrepreneurs who talk to their customers early benefit in a multitude of ways:
1) Customers can provide primary data on market dynamics & size;
2) Customers often have/share secondary data (research reports etc.) on their markets;
3) Customers are typically more open to answer questions if the goal is reasearch instead of sales;
4) Customers can help prioritize product features;
5) Customers may provide early commitments for trials/sales;
6) Customers can be valuable references for funding diligence;
7) Customers could become early investors;
8) Customers can be a resource for more customers (e.g. trade associations);
9) Customers may know of good management candidates from their industry;
10) Customers that are included early, become long-term resources for information and guidance;

So…why are you reading this? Go talk to your customers…

SBSS Week 1: Entrepreneurs Need Passion

I’m helping facilitate the first FastTrac TechVenture program in North Florida, called Success Breeds Success Series (SBSS). It’s an intensive 8-week bootcamp for entrepreneurs, including “secrets of success” from most of the top entrepreneurs in the area.

We have a fantastic group participating and our first week focused on the Characteristics of Entrepreneurs. Jamie Grooms, founder of Regeneration Technologies and AxoGen, was the speaker and we spent considerable time discussing the key traits of entrepreneurs. It was a wide-ranging discussion that I won’t attempt to summarize here; however, there was one takeaway that was a mild surprise to me.

I’m a terribly passionate person and that has an impact on the type of people I back — I’m drawn to others whose passion shows in their efforts and dedication to their companies. However, at SBSS I expected to hear diverse views on whether passion was a defining trait of entrepreneurs — maybe from tech-heavy founders. Boy was I wrong.

Everyone felt passion was a defining trait of successful entrepreneurs. A commitment to do whatever it takes is critical to fight through all the inevitable “no’s” heard when building a business. I believe this also shows itself in creativity — passion makes an entrepreneur think of new ways to create success.

Are you ready to run through walls for your idea? If not, maybe it’s not the right idea or the right time for you — or you need to find co-founders with that core. The road to entrepreneurial success contains plenty of walls, will you stop or keep running?

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